Women dying more from dengue but disease afflicting more men in Bangladesh

  • Obaidur Masum, Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-08-20 00:25:43 BdST

Patients with mosquito-borne viral dengue fever lying inside mosquito nets at a special ward of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka on Sunday. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The rate of dengue fever is higher among men, but more women are among those who have died from the mosquito-borne viral disease in Bangladesh.

Researchers have blamed the tendency to getting late with treatment among women and their malnutrition, a longtime problem for Bangladesh, for the higher death rate among them.

Dengue struck Bangladesh for the first time two decades ago, but this year the figures of the outbreak have broken all records, with the hospitals admitting as many as 54,797 patients with the fever so far this year, mostly in July and August.

The government's disease control arm, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research or IEDCR, in an analysis of 10,400 dengue patients hospitalised between July 1 and Aug 11 found that 65 of them are male.

Source: IEDCR

Source: IEDCR

The government reviewed the fatal cases until Aug 8 and confirmed 40 have been caused by dengue. Half of them are female.

bdnews24.com has received reports of 169 deaths caused by dengue and confirmed by doctors and hospital authorities until Monday afternoon.

bdnews24.com could be certain about the gender of 167 among those fatalities.

They include 90 women and 77 men, which means the rate of fatality from dengue among women is 53.89 percent and 46.11 percent among men.

Patients waiting in queues for dengue tests at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

Patients waiting in queues for dengue tests at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove


IEDCR Director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told bdnews24.com she thinks female patients are late to arrive in hospitals for treatment.

“The trend of receiving treatment is high among men. Women seem to be late in starting treatment. This may be the reason we are seeing more deaths among women,” she said.

Dr Uttam Kumar Barua, director of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, also blamed indifference to ensuring nutrition of women in Bangladesh.

Women are being affected by dengue twice or thrice as they stay more at home, where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes roam most, Uttam said.

“Women have lower percentage of haemoglobin, nutrition problems and these decrease their immunity. So they are dying more from the viral infection,” the physician said.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable to dengue and the risk of mortality among them is 70 to 80 percent more, he said.

Child mortality rate for dengue is not low either.

“Children are more vulnerable. They are having shock syndrome in case of high fluid loss,” Dr LE Fatmi of the Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital’s paediatric department said.

Source: IEDCR

Source: IEDCR


The IEDCR analysis shows that the youth are more affected by dengue this year. 

As many as 31 percent of the patients surveyed by the institute are people aged between 15 and 25 years, and 22 percent between 25 and 35 years.

It means 53 percent of the patients hospitalised with dengue and surveyed by the institute are aged between 15 and 35.

The percentage of dengue patients aged up to 15 years is 27.

IEDCR Director Sabrina Flora said the percentage of dengue patients aged between 5 and 35 years is 70.

“This group go to schools or offices. I think they are being affected mostly in schools, colleges or offices,” she said.

Out of the 169 deaths counted by bdnews24.com, 72 are of people aged between 15 and 35 years, which is 42.6 percent of the total death toll.

Dengue claimed 93 lives when it hit Bangladesh in 2000, but the death toll, according to the bdnews24.com count, has been 98 only in August.